Grilled Shrimp, Romaine and Pineapple Salsa Salad
Summer Summer Summertime…….time to kick back and……well I will let you insert your favorite activity. When I was growing up in the Northeast, summer was my favorite season which may explain why I moved to Southern California the first chance I got! Summer in my childhood meant two things.
1. Downthashore. Translation for those not from New Jersey or Philadelphia… it means: Going to the beach. If you are from the garden or keystone state, this must be said as if it is one word: Downthashore. It’s a rule.
2. The foods of summer! Jersey tomatoes and corn, crabs and lobsters, salt water taffy and ice cream, and of course cooking on the grill.
Here in my current place of residence, South Florida, we are fortunate enough to be able to grill outdoors year round, even if it means melting in the 100 degree heat. At the moment however I live on the 15th floor in a building that doesn’t allow you to have a grill on your balcony, a sound rule to be sure however it greatly diminishes my chances of grill cookin’. My building does have 2 public grills, but I find it rather difficult to plan a dinner around going up and down 15 stories with two little humans in tow. Sad for me. When Organic Girl sent me my monthly box of green goodies I planned on making the trek to the grill for this recipe. I would prep everything and go through the 5 step process required by building management in order to use the grill.
So of course it rained.
Luckily I do have a grill pan from Le Creuset. It’s not even a close second, but it gets the job done.
The challenge? Grilling Greens. I will take that challenge and raise you a grilled pineapple salsa! I adore tropical, Mexican, Latin foods and flavors, which may be evident from past posts, so I decided to grill some marinated shrimp, (tequila mango jalapeño marinated shrimp) to go with the grilled greens. Then I thought, why not grill the salsa as well?
Oh I am so glad I did!
Beautiful Organic Girl Romaine Hearts, Jumbo Shrimp, Pineapple, Red Onion, Avocado, Lime, Cilantro, Tomatos, and Toasted Coconut.
Mango Jalapeño Tequila Marinade, Sea Salt and Coconut Oil
Ok let’s start with the shrimp. I got some beautiful fresh (not frozen) jumbo shrimp from my guy Joe at the Fresh Market meat counter. When I told him I was going to marinate and grill the shrimp, he went in the back and brought out these just arrived beauties. First off you want to clean them, so under running cool water with a very sharp fish knife, peel them (but leave a bit at the bottom and the tails on) then split the back to clean out the gunk. Ewww.
At this size are they considered jumbo shrimp or prawns I wonder?
I then put them in a bowl and covered with the marinade – store bought – and let them sit for about an hour or so while I made the salsa. It’s important to note that you don’t want to “over marinate” shrimp, or they can get gummy, especially smaller shrimp. With these monsters I felt confident the hour or so would be ok before I put them on bamboo skewers. Also be careful with citrus marinades, using to much lime or lemon juice with start to “cook” the shrimp, giving you more of a ceviche.
Now time to make the grilled pineapple salsa. I like to prep everything first, it’s the slight OCD in me, so I sliced the pineapple, chopped the red onion into large chunks, chopped the tomatoes, cleaned the cilantro and removed the leaves from the stems. It’s extra work to remove all the leaves but I don’t like the stems in my dishes.
I don’t chop the avocado until the last minute so it doesn’t start to discolor. Heat up that grill pan and grill the pineapple slices and onions.
When it looks like this you have a grilled them enough. The goal is not to over cook either so they still have a bit of crunch. I will tell you it smells delicious while grilling! Remove and let cool for a few minutes before chopping.
Now because you prepped everything else all you do is mix together in a bowl with the juice of a lime and some salt.
YUM! Again, I wait until serving to add the avocado, as well as the toasted coconut chips. That way the moisture doesn’t make the coconut soggy and you get a nice crunch.
Now it’s time to grill the romaine. Slice the romaine head in half lengthwise.
I then spray with coconut oil spray, the same thing I use on the grill pan, and using my new favorite salt grinder, lightly salt each side.
Yes I have a thing for everything coconut as well!
Place the romaine facedown on the grill for a few minutes. Not very long, you don’t want to cook it like cabbage, more warm it.
Now it’s time to cook the shrimp.
With shrimp you don’t want to overcook, particularly large shrimp that will then just become tough and chewy. When the shrimp turns pinkish, with some brown from the marinade caramelizing, and is no longer translucent you are good to go! Finally it’s time to assemble, adding sliced avocado and the toasted coconut as well!
Oh yeah! I take some more lime and squeeze it over the top of the grilled greens and there you have it! My suggestion is to serve it with my favorite cocktail. Simply Limeade, Skinny Girl Coconut Vodka and a squeeze of fresh lime. Now I’m hungry!
- One head of Organic Girl Romaine Hearts
- 8 large Shrimp
- ½ or 4 slices of fresh pineapple
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- Toasted coconut chips (optional)
- Marinade of choice for Shrimp
- Clean and de-vein shrimp, then place in a bowl covered with marinade of choice and set aside for 30 - 45 minutes
- Skewer shrimp on Bamboo sticks (optional, but it makes grilling easier)
- Prepare Salsa by gathering and prepping ingredients:
- Chop 1 cup tomatoes
- Slice Pineapple and chop red onion into large pieces and grill
- Remove pineapple and red onion to cool, rough chop.
- Combine pineapple, onion, tomato and cilantro in bowl. Toss together with juice from 1 lime and salt to taste.
- Slice Romaine heart in half lengthwise, brush or spray with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt
- Grill for a few moments, do not over cook
- Remove and set aside
- Grill shrimp until pink and no longer translucent
- Chop avocado and add to salsa with ¼ cup toasted coconut chips (more can be added as garnish if desired)
- Lay one grilled romaine heart on plate, add generous helping of grilled salsa and 4 large shrimp.